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Uffington White Horse and Its Landscape: Investigations at White Horse Hill, Uffington, 1989–95, and Tower Hill, Ashbury, 1993–4

Miles, David and Palmer, Simon and Lock, Gary and Gosden, Chris and Cromarty, Anne Marie and Bailey, Richard and Barclay, Alistair and Booth, Paul and Boyle, Angela and Blinkhorn, Paul and Bradley, Philippa and Brown, Kayt and Brown, Lisa and Campbell, Greg and Clark, Kate and Coombs, David and Craster, Antonia and Dodd, Anne and Finn, Chris and Hardy, Alan and Ingrem, Claire and Linford, Neil and Maskell, John and Northover, Peter and Oteyo, Gilbert and Payne, Andrew and Rees-Jones, Julie and Robinson, Mark and Roe, Fiona and Salter, Chris and Scott, Ian and Thomas, Kathryn and Tite, Mike and Adams, Luke and Cheshire, Steve and Costello, Mel and Lorimer, Peter and Moxham, Julia and Patton, Amanda and Smith, Rosalyn (2003) Uffington White Horse and Its Landscape: Investigations at White Horse Hill, Uffington, 1989–95, and Tower Hill, Ashbury, 1993–4. Project Report. Oxford Archaeology, Oxford.

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White Horse Hill comprises a complex of prehistoric
and later monuments. These include the Uffington
‘Castle’ hillfort which dominates the local topography,
the Ridgeway track, a number of burial mounds
and also the mysterious White Horse, carved into the
chalk of the hillside and visible from a considerable
distance. These archaeological monuments are set in
a dramatic landscape with defined natural features
such as Dragon Hill and the adjacent dry valley of
the Manger.
The nature and date of construction of the White
Horse has been the subject of considerable debate, as
has its use and possible meaning in past society,
although many questions remain unresolved. A
number of excavations and investigations were
completed at the White Horse and associated sites
between 1989 and 1995 to address certain significant
problems surrounding the White Horse and its
context through time. A full, illustrated account of
this archaeological, artefactual and documentary
research is presented here.
These investigations demonstrate for the first time
that the White Horse was originally prehistoric in
date. The fact that it has been reworked repetitively
since its construction indicates a remarkable continuity
in its use and significance over the past several
thousand years. The creation of the White Horse may
be contemporaneous with, or even earlier than, the
construction and first phase of use of the hillfort.
These investigations also revealed that the hillfort
did originally have another entrance, which appears
to have been deliberately blocked during the
early Iron Age. The hillfort underwent various
additional transformations during its lifetime, reflecting
changes in use and meaning. Investigations
showed that a number of burials were made in and
around the hill from Neolithic to Roman times,
further stressing the conceptual significance of this
Nearby at Tower Hill, a rare and remarkable
Bronze Age hoard was discovered comprising 92
separate bronze pieces, including 22 complete
socketed axes and numerous broken and unfinished
metal objects. The discovery of this hoard in a small
settlement, which was occupied for a short period
during the Bronze Age-Iron Age transition, enhances
our understanding of the nature and processes of
deposition of prestige artefacts at this interface.
Together these sites provide a new insight into the
fascinating landscape of the White Horse – a
landscape that is best appreciated through movement
and visibility across it. This study enables us to
look openly at the changing roles of the various
monuments associated with the White Horse and
their physical setting, particularly during the late
Bronze Age and early Iron Age, but also within the
longer-term history of this part of the Berkshire

Item Type: Monograph (Project Report)
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Oxfordshire
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2023 16:15
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2023 16:15
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/6999

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